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28 May 2017

28 May 2017 – Moth with the Long(est) Name

(Pseudoswammerdamia combinella)

The only micromoth to be attracted to the moth trap for National Garden Scheme opening was Pseudoswammerdamia combinella. This is its third appearance at Shandy Hall, roughly around the same date each year and (I hope) not incorrectly identified.  The tawny spot on the upraised tube of the wings is clearly seen with the naked eye, as well as its characteristic resting position.  Does it have the longest name?  A quick look at a list seems to suggest it does.

The open garden evening attracted around fifty people and the weather was glorious.  The moth trap was opened and contained a good cross-section of species.  We got a little perplexed over a white moth that seemed as if it should be a ‘wave’ – but all the pale-coloured wave-like moths have spots on their forewings. Our moth (see photo below) didn’t and it looked as if the only wave that it could be was a Satin Wave – which is never seen in Yorkshire.  Could this be an important sighting in the region?  No.  It turned out to be a Light Emerald (Campaea margaritaria) – yet another example of the fugitive green colour that vanishes so quickly from the wings of moths. 

Light Emerald (Campaea margaritaria)

But then a proper surprise.  A Carpet moth was spotted clinging to an egg box and I couldn’t recall seeing one like it before.  Looking at the images in the Lewington guide it seemed to be a Common Carpet.  Checking back through the blog it seems that this species has not been recorded before – and a verification from the photograph (thank you, Dave Chesmore), means another can be added to the list which now stands at 404.  

The bonus is that the caterpillar eats cleavers (Galium aparine). This may cause gardeners to jump for joy as cleavers (aka known as goose-grass, stick-a-back, scratch tongue and no doubt other regional names), can overtake a garden in the blink of any eye.  Its sweet, innocent self can be seen below. 

Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata alternata)

The Common Carpet is a very common moth, as its name suggests, but it must have been missed or never seen before at Shandy Hall.  The broad alternating bands on the fore-wings are referred to in the scientific name (alternata); ‘epirrhoe’ is from the Greek for a flood suggested by the rivulet shapes also present.

Goose-grass (Galium aparine)

Other moth species on this evening : Pale Tussock, Poplar Hawk-moth, Brimstone, Spectacle, Pale Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, White Ermine, Buff Ermine, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Sandy Carpet, Small Square-spot, Green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Pugs (waiting to check with experts), Pale-shouldered Brocade.